MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Families started lining up early in the morning to receive a free Christmas tree during the 7th Annual Trees for Troops event at Pelican Point Marina, Friday.
“Everyone who celebrates Christmas needs a tree,” said Lance Cpl. Sharmin E. West, a radio operator with Marine Wing Communication Squadron 28 and Trees for Troops volunteer. “This program is an amazing way the community and the nation shows its appreciation.”
A FedEx truck arrived shortly after 10 a.m. pulling two trailers full of Christmas trees of all types and sizes from Blue Spruce to Long Needle Evergreens. The two trailers housed more than 450 trees from tree farms in Wisconsin and Virginia.
“These tree farms are great for donating all these trees to the families,” said Beth McKenzie, the marketing director for Marine Corps Community Services Cherry Point. “It shows the Marines and their families how much they are appreciated; the Marines for their service and the families for the sacrifices they make on a day-to-day basis.”
Families received their trees one by one until the line was gone and the reactions to the gifts were all the same.
“This is great,” said Tiffany A. Parrish, a Marine spouse. “There are a lot of little things that Marines and their families have to pay for, and not having to pay for a Christmas tree will mean a few extra dollars for us and a few more toys under the tree for our kids.”
Marines and civilians volunteered to unload the trees and put them into vehicles or tie them to the roofs of vehicles.
“Seeing the faces of the kids who are getting these trees and knowing I’m helping make their Christmas that much better is a great feeling,” said West.
“In an odd way it makes me feel a little like Santa Claus. I’m helping bring Christmas joy to all the little girls and boys. Overall this has been a great day and it couldn’t have been done without the support of the local community.”